The Merry Wives of Windsor Act V
by William Shakespeare

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Act V, Scene 1

ACT V.

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SCENE 1. A room in the Garter Inn.

[Enter FALSTAFF and MISTRESS QUICKLY.]

FALSTAFF.
Prithee, no more prattling; go: I'll hold. This is the third time;
I hope good luck lies in odd numbers. Away! go. They say there is
divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death. Away!

QUICKLY.
I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to get you a pair
of horns.

FALSTAFF.
Away, I say; time wears; hold up your head, and mince.

[Exit MRS. QUICKLY.]

[Enter FORD.]

How now, Master Brook! Master Brook, the matter will be known
tonight, or never. Be you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's
oak, and you shall see wonders.

FORD.
Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me you had appointed?

FALSTAFF.
I went to her, Master Brook, as you see, like a poor old man; but
I came from her, Master Brook, like a poor old woman. That same
knave Ford, her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy
in him, Master Brook, that ever governed frenzy. I will tell you:
he beat me grievously in the shape of a woman; for in the shape
of man, Master Brook, I fear not Goliath with a weaver's beam,
because I know also life is a shuttle. I am in haste; go along
with me; I'll tell you all, Master Brook. Since I plucked geese,
played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten
till lately. Follow me: I'll tell you strange things of this knave
Ford, on whom to-night I will be revenged, and I will deliver his
wife into your hand. Follow. Strange things in hand, Master Brook!
Follow.

[Exeunt.]

Act V, Scene 2

SCENE 2. Windsor Park.

[Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER.]

PAGE.
Come, come; we'll couch i' the castle-ditch till we see the light
of our fairies. Remember, son Slender, my daughter.

SLENDER.
Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word how
to know one another. I come to her in white and cry 'mum'; she
cries 'budget,' and by that we know one another.

SHALLOW.
That's good too; but what needs either your 'mum' or her 'budget'?
The white will decipher her well enough. It hath struck ten o'clock.

PAGE.
The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well. Heaven
prosper our sport! No man means evil but the devil, and we shall
know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me.

[Exeunt.]

Act V, Scene 3

SCENE 3. The street in Windsor.

[Enter MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD, and DOCTOR CAIUS.]

MRS. PAGE.
Master Doctor, my daughter is in green; when you see your time,
take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and dispatch
it quickly. Go before into the Park; we two must go together.

CAIUS.
I know vat I have to do; adieu.

MRS. PAGE.
Fare you well, sir. [Exit CAIUS.] My husband will not rejoice so
much at the abuse of Falstaff as he will chafe at the doctor's
marrying my daughter; but 'tis no matter; better a little chiding
than a great deal of heart break.

MRS. FORD.
Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies, and the Welsh devil,
Hugh?

MRS. PAGE.
They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscured
lights; which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and our meeting,
they will at once display to the night.

MRS. FORD.
That cannot choose but amaze him.

MRS. PAGE.
If he be not amazed, he will be mocked; if he be amazed, he will
every way be mocked.

MRS. FORD.
We'll betray him finely.

MRS. PAGE.
Against such lewdsters and their lechery,
Those that betray them do no treachery.

MRS. FORD.
The hour draws on: to the oak, to the oak!

[Exeunt.]

Act V, Scene 4

SCENE 4. Windsor Park

[Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, disguised, with others as Fairies.]

EVANS.
Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember your parts. Be pold,
I pray you; follow me into the pit; and when I give the watch-ords,
do as I pid you. Come, come; trib, trib.

[Exeunt.]

Act V, Scene 5

SCENE 5. Another part of the Park.

[Enter FALSTAFF disguised as HERNE with a buck's head on.]

FALSTAFF.
The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute draws on. Now the
hot-blooded gods assist me! Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for
thy Europa; love set on thy horns. O powerful love! that in some
respects, makes a beast a man; in some other a man a beast. You
were also, Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda. O omnipotent love!
how...

(The entire section is 2,875 words.)